Jindal: Delaying Obama healthcare law could help offset sequester

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Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.) on Sunday proposed delay the implementation of President Obama’s healthcare reform law to help offset the looming sequester cuts.

“The president needs to step up to the plate and say to Congress, 'Here's how you can cut $85 billion."' I've got an idea for him,” said Jindal on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Just delay the Medicaid expansions, delay the health care exchanges so they can work with states on waivers, on flexibility. You could save tens of billions of dollars there by-- and you're not even cutting a program that's started yet. Just delay it for a few years.”

Jindal has been a strong critic of the president’s signature healthcare reform bill, and has said his state will not participate in the law’s Medicaid expansion.

The Louisiana governor’s comments come ahead of the $85 billion in across-the-board sequester cuts set to take effect on Friday. 

President Obama has made a public push to pressure GOP lawmakers into backing a plan to offset the automatic cuts with a deficit-reduction package of targeted spending cuts and new tax revenues. But Republicans say they will only replace the sequester with other cuts, not tax hikes.

The White House has sought to rally public support by warning of the real-world impact of the cuts, claiming that the budget axe will cost teachers their jobs, weaken military preparedness, delay air travelers and  result in healthcare programs being scaled back.

Jindal on Sunday charged the administration with trying to frighten voters and not focusing on working with lawmakers.

“It’s time to stop campaigning,” said the governor. “Stop sending out your cabinet secretaries to scare the American people. Roll up your sleeves and do the hard work of governing.”

But Massachusetts Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick rejected the idea that Obama had failed to work with Congress to try to find a way to avert sequestration.  

“The Congressional Republicans move the goal posts as soon as the president comes their way,” said Patrick. 

“He’s got a plan on the table that has an awful lot of things they say they support. Put it to a vote. Because with Democrats and moderate Republicans, it will pass, and it will be good for the economy,” he said.

Senate Democrats have unveiled a plan that would offset the sequester with cuts and tax revenues, from closing loopholes and deductions and from a minimum tax on millionaires, but the measure is unlikely to garner GOP support.